An Employee Reward That Matters

If Bruce Springsteen were one of your employees, he might say (or sing),

“Rewards…What are they good for…Absolutely Nothin’…Rewards.”

All kidding aside, rewards can be a very powerful motivator for developing leaders if the rewards are valued by the employee.

Must Be the Money

When incorporating rewards into our Leadership Development, we often think too traditionally and narrowly when developing our rewards program.  Too often, money and / or promotions are all that is on the table as a reward for development.  The issue with this is:

  1. Money for raises and bonuses is not always an option especially with the economic environment we’ve had for the last few years.  Even when it is an option, it may not be valued enough to be effective as a motivational tool.
  2. With many organizations moving towards a flatter hierarchy, there is little room for promotions.  When employees see a leadership bottleneck above them, it can be a demotivating factor for development.

Choose a Project

Many of our clients utilize some form of what I’ll call Choose a Project (comment below if you have a cooler suggestion) as a reward for development.  Giving employees the autonomy to choose a challenging project within the organization has many benefits.

Choose a Project:

  1. Gives the employee something to ‘train’ for and a concrete reason to commit to development.
  2. Benefits the organization by having an engaged project member who chose to be there.
  3. Delivers a reward that is valued by the employee and costs the organization very little.
  4. Empowers your best employees to creatively identify new opportunities that have the potential to enhance your organizations’ innovation and competitive advantage.

A Reward that Matters

Imagine if all of your employees could do something that excites them even for just an hour or two a week.  Just think of the impact on employee engagement, employee retention, and your company’s bottom line.  Google – and many other tech companies – understands this and gives employees 20% of their time to work on whatever they wish.

Making It Work

It is next to impossible for the organization to identify a unique opportunity for each employee.  However, incorporating Choose a Project into your rewards strategy will empower employees to do all the heavy lifting for you. Choose a Project will also help to ensure that the rewards you deliver are valued by employee and are realized as the powerful motivational tools that they can be.

Let us know – by commenting below – how you have used rewards similar to Choose a Project and what your experiences have been.

And, don’t forget to visit us at

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